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Passion and Life Purpose by Tony Stoltzfus

Oct 14th, 2013 | By | Category: Featured Content, Transformational Coaching

For coaching demonstrations, I’ll often ask for an audience member to share an unrealized dream as a coaching issue. Once after a lengthy wait for a volunteer in a pastor’s group, one man shared a dream that he thought was financially impossible: to take whole his family on an extended trip to Israel. John hesitated to even bring it up, because he also questioned whether it was right to put so much money into what was basically a family vacation.

John’s choice to explore an impossible dream led to a memorable demonstration of coaching around passions—and to that dream coming to pass! Watch how the coach helps John flesh out his dream, understand what’s behind it and tackle the obstacles to pursuing it.

John took the true measure of his dream when he asked the passion question: “Why do I desire this?” As a result, he began to explore ways to make that dream a possibility. Only a few months later, he was invited to speak at a conference in Israel—and the conference organizers agreed to fly his family over as well! It was an amazing convergence of passion and practicality.

Passion Principles

Passion is the underlying motivation and energy behind our life purpose. Our passions define what’s most important to us, what we really care about, and what we energetically pursue. They’re the urges that compel us to do something.

Passion for justice is what led Wilberforce to get slavery outlawed in England. A passionate desire to show mercy kept Mother Teresa working a lifetime in the slums of Calcutta. Without the dynamism of passion, we never engage our calling with the drive and enthusiasm necessary to pull it off. John had yearned to go to Israel for years, but his internal obstacle (wondering if it was a valid end) held him back from applying his passion to it. Once that obstacle was removed, it unleashed a creative energy that helped John find a way to do what had seemed impossible.

 John’s story reveals a number of keys to understanding the place of passion in life purpose:  

  • Passions motivate and energize us Once John realized he really cared about his dream, he found the energy to pursue it.
  • Passions align with values We are most passionate about what we hold most deeply.
  • Dreams are a window to the heart Even ones that seem silly or impossible draw back the curtain on our passions, our deepest desires and our values.
  • Obstacles block passion When we do dream, we often tend to see the immediate obstacles and get stuck, like John did. If instead of stopping we allow our passion to energize us, we (or God) might find a way.
  • Obstacles can be external or internal John was initially stalled by finances, but the deeper obstacle was internal: is this a legitimate dream to pursue?
  • We can test dreams by their motivations Looking at why we want to pursue a dream and what drives it helps us make a sound decision on whether or not to pursue it.

Tony Stoltzfus is an author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, Leadership Coaching.

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